CHARLESTON S.C. - First baseman Dermis Garcia touched off for a pair of home runs, including a game-winning, three-run long ball in the bottom of the eighth that pushed the Charleston RiverDogs past the West Virginia Power, spoiling the Pirates affiliate's playoff chances on the final day of the season, 7-4, in front of 4,525 on Labor Day Monday at Joe Riley Park.
Garcia responded to West Virginia (71-62, 34-33) shortstop Connor Kaiser's go-ahead three run bomb in the fifth with a solo shot of his own to tie the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth. The 20-year-old launched his 15th and final home run with a two-out rocket against Beau Sulser that hooked around the left field foul pole to put the dagger in the Power's season. Two of the three runs were charged to John Pomeroy (0-1), who had not allowed a hit in seven innings with the Power.
The second-year RiverDog (64-72, 31-37) finished the campaign with a team-best 15 home runs, and the game-winning round-tripper gave the D.R. native a team-leading 50 RBI. The Yankees' No. 28 prospect finished the season reaching base in 23 of his last 24 games with three game-winning hits in the eighth inning or later.
The Dogs took the game's first lead with three runs in the third inning, starting with a two-run single from left fielder Carlos Vidal that brought home third baseman Welfrin Mateo and right fielder Frederick Cuevas. Two errors in the inning helped the Holy City push across a pair of unearned tallies in the frame, with the final run coming on an RBI groundout from Oswaldo Cabrera.
Right-hander Miguel Yajure got the nod for the RiverDogs in the final contest, going five innings and allowing four runs, three of which came on Kaiser's first Class-A home run.
Daniel Ramos (8-2) earned his eighth win of the season for following Yajure's effort with three scoreless innings and five punchouts. Daniel Alvarez ended the season with a scoreless ninth, shutting the door for his second save and closing his campaign with a microscopic 0.87 ERA in just shy of 21 innings with Charleston.
Charleston's pitching staff finished the year with a 3.29 ERA, marking the third consecutive season under pitching coach Justin Pope that Dogs arms finished as a top-2 staff in the South Atlantic League. Their 339 walks issued, less than 3.0 per nine innings, were the fewest in the franchise's history dating back to 1980 as the Charleston Royals. The RiverDogs' overall record of 64-72 marked just the second time in the past seven seasons the club finished below .500.
West Virginia entered the four-game series on a seven-game winning streak, needing a split to lock up the final playoff spot in the South Atlantic League Northern Division Playoffs. The RiverDogs took three of four, and with the Kannapolis Intimidators defeating the Hagerstown Suns, the Power's season ended on Monday.
The RiverDogs rounded out a season that welcomed over 300,000 fans for the second straight season, also the second in franchise history, totaling 305,040. The Dogs fell just 582 fans shy of their record-setting 2017 campaign where the organization set a third consecutive attendance record at The Joe. The club's "175th season in dog years" closed with a dog day afternoon at The Joe with fans and their four-legged fans enjoying dollar beers and hot dogs presented by Busch Light.
RiverDogs season tickets, including options to the Riley Park Club, are now available for the 2019 campaign. The RiverDogs begin their home schedule on April 11 when they host the Greensboro Grasshoppers at The Joe, preceded by a weeklong road trip to Columbia and Asheville.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.